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I was as blind-sided by this review as everyone else. I had NOT peeked ahead in the book! And to be honest, I think this was the hardest thing Ms. Allen has had us do yet! Reading back through all those posts was interesting, to say the least. But then I’m used to doing that with my journals. Nevertheless, here are my answers to The Sandbox Writing Challenge — Review #1.

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Did any of your answers surprise you? Why or why not?

belongActually yes. Challenges 9 (What would you say about yourself?) and 10 (What are they hearing about you?) both reflected some positive changes in my self-assurance. In 9, even though I admitted that I still struggle often with the feeling of needing to “belong”, I realized that I no longer wanted to make that happen by trying to be who or how the particular group needed wanted me to be. I had come to the amazing conclusion that I did NOT want to violate my own sense of self anymore just to fit it. THAT is huge for me. And I credit a year of working on this blog, allowing myself to be vulnerable, and observing how other folks respond to me with pushing me in that positive direction.

Say-NoAnd because of that I was able to build on something Plato over at Plato’s Groove had been writing about. The fact that one can’t really say YES whole-heartedly to anything until they can learn to say NO. If they can’t say NO, then YES is really not a choice. (I’ve looked for the post over that was about that, but I can’t find it so quickly. Plato, if you can find it, would you mind leaving a link to it in the comments for me? Thanks, Bard!) I’ve said NO a lot in the last few months. I can honestly say I am no longer intimidated to do so. That’s damn near as huge as Challenge 9.


Was there any one exercise that felt more emotionally “charged” than the others? If so you may want to take a few moments and write a bit more about it. But only write until the “energy” runs out.

emotionally chargedI would have to say those same two challenges are the ones I felt the most emotionally charged about. Maybe that’s because they actually reflected some changes in my behavior?



Are there exercises that feel incomplete? Go with your energy. Complete those exercises now. You’ll know they are finished when your energy is spent and the exercise feels complete.

Stickerline-elsa-let-it-goFor me Challenges 1 (Reflection) and 13 (How does this relate to your life?), and to a certain extent Challenge 9 (What would you say about yourself?) in regards to always feeling like I’m on the outside looking in were interrelated and unfinished. And though there is a ton of energy left for writing about those challenges, I don’t feel compelled to do that right now as I KNOW those are all three “black hole issues” for me and I think I will struggle with them for the rest of my life. I’ve written about them over and over in my journals for years. It could be that at this point in my life I’m just going to have to make peace with them and let them go. We’ll see. I may be driven in the future to write more about them, but I did bleed off some of that energy in those challenges.

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My response to the question about doing these challenges is that the whole concept of using Roberta Allen’s book The Playful Way to Knowing Yourself on line like this was a risk. (And here I said in Challenge 15 I never take risks!) I had no clue how honest I could be publicly about her exercises. And I sure as heck didn’t know how anyone else would react. But having spent so much time the last years digging around in the dirt in my own cave, I KNEW there were gems to be mined there. So it seemed worth the risk.

vulnerability2There wasn’t a lot to surprise me, but it WAS difficult at times being so vulnerable. Challenge 12 in particular (What makes you feel loved?) left me feeling quite exposed because what you have put out there can’t be taken back. I guess that may have been a downside. The upside was I realized I’ve become a lot kinder toward myself in many ways since I started my spelunking ten plus years ago now.

And finally, one comment by Plato in regards to Challenge 5 (What makes you different?) caught me quite off guard as I had never viewed myself that way. He said, You put together groups of people like a composer. What an interesting thing to say. It quite captured my fancy.

So all in all I’ve loved doing these exercises so far, and it’s been such a joy sharing them with others and getting to know folks better in some very important ways. It will be interesting to see what Ms. Allen has up her sleeve next!


I hope to see you there next Tuesday!


Picture Credits
Duck — bandanasanddenim.wordpress.com
Stay Calm — theparentingfiles.com.au
Emotionally Charged — moodle.piercecollege.edu
Let it go! — disney.wikia.com
Lock and Key — ulpan.com